California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

March 03, 2017Caitlin Fitzwater

12th Annual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals to take place Monday, March 13 at the State Capitol

With Special Guest Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate and Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

SACRAMENTO -- This year marks the twelfth time the California Arts Council has produced the state poetry competition, Poetry Out Loud - the largest of its kind in the nation, with more than 35,000 students in 44 California counties participating. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

The California Poetry Out Loud State Finals begin Sunday, March 12 with Round One at the Crest Theatre. On Monday, March 13, Rounds Two and Three will take place in the Senate Chambers at the State Capitol. All events are open to the public. Space may be limited.

California Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Sunday, March 12, 2017:

WHAT: Poetry Out Loud State Finals (Round One)

WHEN: 4:00 pm, Sunday, March 12

WHERE: Crest Theatre, 1013 K St, Sacramento, CA 95814

California Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Monday, March 13, 2017:

WHAT: Poetry Out Loud State Finals (Rounds Two & Three)

WHEN: 8:30 am, Monday, March 13 (ends at approx. 12:30 p.m.)

WHERE: Senate Chambers, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814

WHO: Special guest Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, founder of Poetry Out Loud 

Participating Counties

Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in at the State Finals: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, Yuba.

About Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud State Finals is California's culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee). The California Poetry Out Loud champion will win $200 and a trip to Washington, DC from the NEA, to compete in the national Poetry Out Loud finals in April.  The winner's school receives $500 for poetry books. The California runner-up receives $100 from the NEA, with his or her school receiving $200 for books. At stake for the national finals is approximately $50,000 in scholarships and related winnings. 

Live Webcast

Monday's competition will be webcast live by Senate TV at the following link: 

Event Program

The Poetry Out Loud event program, including detailed listings on the student finalists, can be viewed at this link: 


Additional past photos available upon request. Contact Caitlin Fitzwater at A photo release including images of the State Champion and finalists will be issued the afternoon of March 12, 2017.

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The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at XX

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